02/26 The Lineup Transcripts

Today I shuffled around getting various people (doctor, radiologist technician) to look at my multicolored ankle, and while shuffling down a hospital hallway I came across a signed print from 1968 (the Roman Numerals are bottom right):


The artist is Tom Phillips, and I will need to do a little bit of research on him before elaborating on him or his body of work. What it reminded me of, tangentially, was the Manhattan Transcripts (1976-1981) by Bernard Tschumi. The Transcripts, depicting narratives through parts of midtown and Central Park, “proposed to transcribe an architectural interpretation of reality.  ….plans, sections, and diagrams outline spaces and indicate the movements of the different protagonists intruding into the architectural ‘stage set’.”

tschumi transcripts 16 tschumi transcripts 17

Around the time I was first introduced to the Manhattan Transcripts I also saw 1958’s The Lineup with a pre-“The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” Eli Wallach (he was the ugly to Clint Eastwood’s good) as a gangster hitman tracking down a lost package of smuggled heroin. Some of the cinematography greatly impressed me, especially the way background elements were framed by the fore- and mid-ground:

0 50 05 Mr Sanders Sutros 1 06 32

I wanted to use the film as source material for The Lineup Transcripts, which would break down an existing narrative and perspective. Frames of the film would be diagrammed to better illustrate the physical spaces depicted:

Pacific Pier 0 32 33 20140226_225137


For now the project is more an exercise in mimicry and homage rather than a critical response to Tschumi’s work. Part of the problem is that the work clarifies but does not generate other possible realities. It sticks pretty close to the source material. But I would recommend The Lineup as film worth watching, if only to get a good glimpse of late 1950s San Francisco.


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